CARNATIC – the old wreck of Red sea. Egypt. november 2009
Дата 29 March 2010

CARNATIC – old wreck Red Sea

Location – 27-34-53 N

33-55-32 E

minimum  – maximum depth of 17m – 27m

visibility – 30-35m

SHAB ABU NUHAS – coral reef, which can be achieved only with the surface and which is not visible from a distance at all. This reef is situated on the edge of the Strait Goba (Strait of Gobal). This north-western part of the Red Sea, where begins the Suez Channel. Even today, these waters are extremely dangerous – is easy to imagine what was here 100 years ago.


Carnatic  - passenger ship was built SAMUD BROS in London and is classified as an *iron passenger ship* weighing 1,776 tons. Dimensions steamer 89,8 m x11, 6m. In addition to the sails, the ship was equipped with a 4x-cylinder engine, producing 2442 HF, also made in London.

CARNATIC descended on the water in December 1862 and was registered in March 1863. On June 27 went to Calcutta, from where made shipping to Suez, Bombay and China. In 1867, the board adopted CARNATIC very experienced and competent captain – P.B.Jones.

By September 1869 the construction of the Suez Canal was nearly finished and before its opening was no more than three months. Yet, and passengers and baggage unloaded at Alexandria – hence they are still 200 miles to get to the ship in the Suez. But even this road was much shorter and safer than the passage of the Cape of Good Hope

It all happened in September, when Captain Jones went to his long way with a valuable cargo, 34 passangers on board and 176 crew members. The cargo was – cotton, copper sheets, Royal Mail and 40 000 Pound gold.

At 10 am on Sept. 12, 1869 Captain Jones ordered to dissolve the sails. The ship glided into the Suez Strait. The captain himself stood on the bridge and watched the dangerous waters. The speed of the ship was 11 knots.

There was a clear and bright night. From the shore came a light mist and a breeze. Islands were clearly visible. At 1 a.m. second officer saw the island Shadvan. The course of the ship was slightly changed.

Eighteen minutes later,  ship saw big waves with lambs. Immediately a team was given the right rudder! But, too late. At full speed CARNATIC ran into a reef SHAB ABU NUHAS and tightly stuck on it.

Cap was totally calm – the pump worked well, there   was no water in the ship. The captain ordered everyone to stay on board.

Day  Sept. 13, John once again inspect the ship. The ship ran into a huge coral reef, and despite the hole remained in good condition. To start overboard sent bales of cotton to facilitate the ship and in the hope that the rising tide of the ship put off the reef. There was no panic among the passengers. Nevertheless, they asked permission to take the life boat and sail to the island Shadvan. Captain John refused

John knew very well what the risk may be subjected to 210 people, swimming through coral reefs on small bots. And, even reaching the shore of salvation, what tests may fall to their share! At the moment the captain chose to leave all on board in relative comfort. In addition, the captain knew the ship SUMATRA must pass the same path in a matter of hours and counted on his help.

The food was served , people gathered on the deck, all looking at the horizon for the ship. Evening. By the captain again was sent a delegation with a request to disembark a rescue boats. And the captain refused a second time.  He was ordered to serve dinner, and all remain on board. Many of the passengers were dressed for dinner, the waiters ran down drinks. For some, this was the last supper.

Carnatic continued to *sit* on the reef. Leak became greater. It was a foregone conclusion. It was a matter of time.

At 2 a.m. in the morning the water rose higher. Suddenly lost electricity. Third delegation  went to captain with a request to allocate a lifeboat. At this time, calmed the captain of the message of imminent arrival of SUMATRA. In the morning light began to swell. The water level in the ship began to rise sharply. Hope to remove the ship from the reef there was no more. The captain ordered an immediate pull the lifeboats.

At 11 am the first passengers were allowed to take seats in the boats. The first were women and children. Only three women and one child had to sit in the boat when everything happened – quite suddenly Carnatic broken into two parts. 34 hours on top of a coral reef was too much for a fine ship. 5 passengers and 26 crew members were eternal captive sea and the ship.

In the chaos of people floundering. One part of the ship slid into the depths of the inverse wave threw people in different directions. Rescue boats in the same confused chaos around. People helped each other, looking for living.

The island Shadvan was about three miles. All seven boats came together and made it safely to shore.

On the shore of the rescued was a surprise – a few bales of cotton. And cotton has been so tightly packed that completely soaked. . On the shore also kicked calico – cotton fabric like muslin, which people used the cold night. Finally came SUMATRA, which has saved and accidents.

On arrival in England captain John was brought before the Maritime Court.

Losing such a valuable cargo (the equivalent of seven million Pound today) Lloyd immediately dispatched Captain Henry Grant back for the rescue operation. When Grant arrived at Suez, he was informed that Carnatic sank at a depth of 70 meters! Still, Grant decided make a personally look at the place of tragedy. By September 29  Arab boats approached the reef. In the shallow waters of the captain not only saw the Carnatic, but even managed to address some of the details. Captain Grant has only one diver on board – Stephen Saffrey. The search began with the room where he kept the Royal Mail. There  was found  died man and  many packs of mail. Mail was send by Stephen on the surface. From the safe  he also took watches, which are also in special bags were thrown onto the surface. Gold hadnot been found. Next door was locked and Saffreyu took several days to open it. There he found 16 more packets of mail.  At October 26  the first box of gold was found, and on  November  the 8 the lifting of gold was over. At the same time, local divers have raised 700 sheets of iron.

According to official sources, the cargo of gold was all found and raised. However, until now the history of the missing treasures from time to time appear.

Captain Philip bud John was born in Liverpool in 1830 and earned a certificate in 1858 – about a young age, in 28 years. Before his tragic voyage he visited Kolumbii, Syria, India, and has proven high-level professionals. After the death of Carnatic Captain John never went to sea.


most remarkable thing about this wreck is that even broken into two parts, the ship fell to the bottom and formed as a unit.

Today Carnatic lies near the reef on a completely accessible depths. In addition to general inspection can still explore the two levels of decks. You can swim between beautiful iron constructions, feeling yourself inside  a huge whale. In the shadowy spaces  of wreck hiding millions of small transparent fish on behalf of the head-tail. It is interesting to swim to the bridge to inspect the three-bladed propeller. The ship is covered with soft corals, its traditional inhabitants – moray eels, groupers and Scorpio.

So far not found 4x cylinder engine.